Brian and Freddy
When we first met Brian and Freddy in 2018 at Customs House, Brisbane, it was so evident that they were so excited about their upcoming wedding; they had been together since 1991. At the time of us meeting Brian and Freddy, their wedding planning was in full swing, but the wedding was still over 12 months away. However, we have been excitedly waiting for this day as much as they had been and we are now so honoured to be able to finally share their wedding with you.
Mr T - How and when did you meet?
B - We met in 1991, Freddy was living in London and I was studying in Switzerland. I visited my cousin in London to celebrate Christmas. Freddy hosted a fabulous orphans Christmas for all his friends at his house in London. There was certainly some chemistry but we didn’t start dating until 2 years later and continued a long-distance relationship between London and Switzerland. Six months later we embarked on a seven week holiday around the Greek Islands and then moved in together in London to start our life together.
Mr T - Tell us a little about the earlier days of your relationship...
B - After living in London for two years we decided to move to Australia. Freddy is originally from Brazil, so we needed to go through a very lengthy and sometimes intrusive process to obtain residency in Australia for Freddy.
Freddy and I are both blessed with very supportive and loving families. Both our parents have welcomed each of us into our respective family units. Both our employers are very progressive and supportive of same-sex relationships and marriage. Freddy has been employed by Qantas for the last 20 years and myself over 20 years at Customs House Brisbane which is part of The University of Queensland.
Mr T - What does Marriage mean to you?
B & F - Marriage for us is a contract to express your commitment and love for one another. Both our parents have been married for over 50 years so we have seen that kind of love between two people that has inspired us to be loving people to everyone that we know and to each other. The marriage equality campaign was an emotional roller coaster that brought out the best and worst in the community. It meant so much to us to see our parents and friends support us and in the Yes vote. When the marriage law passed it provided us the opportunity to share this moment with our friends and family in our hometown Brisbane.
Mr T - Who proposed and how?
B - We have had the longest engagement ever as I proposed to Freddy back in London in 1996. Marriage was not an option then as it was only possible to have a civil union.
Mr T - When did you get married?
F - On the 6th of April 2019 at Customs House Brisbane. Brian has worked at Customs House for over 20 years and this historical and stunning building has many special memories for us. We wanted a black-tie wedding so we choose an Autumn date.
Brian & Freddy’s story continues below ↓
Mr T - What was the main influence behind your wedding day?
B & F - We wanted an elegant dinner party with excellent cuisine to share with our nearest and dearest. Free flowing champagne and a great band so we could all dance the night away!
We wanted a timeless wedding so black-tie was the only option for us. We wanted to share every moment with our guests so we organised many of the photos before the ceremony. As our guests arrived we poured Louis Roederer Magnums on a champagne tower.
Mr T - What was the most important thing to you surrounding your wedding?
B - Don’t underestimate the ceremony as it really is an emotional experience to exchange your vows and declare your love. It was just so amazing to stand next to the man I love and exchange vows with him and to share that moment with our friends and family.
Mr T - Where did you find the bulk of your inspiration?
B - I have been so lucky to work with some of the most amazing stylists and wedding planners. For the past two years I have attended Engage which is a luxury wedding summit that has been held in Venice and Ireland. They bring together the world’s top planners and stylists. This type of immersion and collaboration made me see the importance of the smaller details such as linen, menus and how this all fits together.
Freddy and I both collated images from Instagram to create our mood board. Macy Blum from New York was a huge inspiration for us. We met with our stylist Athena Amarandos from Celebrating in Style. We have known Athena for some years and knew that she was the perfect person who would understand our ideas but was also so talented to develop them further to enhance the overall feel and look.
Mr T - How did you choose your suppliers?
B - That was the easiest part as we knew straight away who could create our dream wedding from my relationships with wedding professionals at Customs House over the last 20 years. We started planning our day 14 months beforehand so we were lucky that they were all available on the day we had chosen.
Mr T - Any standout suppliers?
B & F - All our suppliers really went out of their way to exceed our expectations!
Brian Sweeney is the owner and creative director from Perrotts Florists and has been a personal friend of ours for over 20 years. Brian understood our vision and really brought the flowers to the next level. It was so enjoyable planning the day over multiple dinners at our house. Brian was a guest at the wedding so it was wonderful for him to see the reaction of our guests faces when they saw our ceremony backdrop and the stunning arrangements on the tables at the reception.
Marcus Bell is the owner and creative director from Studio Impressions and was the only photography that we considered as Freddy and I knew that we would be just so comfortable with him. We were extremely lucky that our date was free as Marcus does shoot weddings around the world.
Lai Utovou creative director and vocalist with Hamilton Band brought the most amazing ambience to our ceremony and reception. He has the most incredible energy and vocal range. Freddy and I did not want a first dance but our dreams came true when the first dance song started the whole room was on the dance floor.
Athena Amarandos is the owner and creative director from Celebrating in Style really took all the stress out of our day! Athena organised the suppliers and was onsite to ensure the set up was done to the most minute detail. She sourced design elements from Sydney and from many other suppliers that was difficult to find in Brisbane. Athena has fantastic eye for detail finessing the room so we could arrive on the day to discover everything was just perfect!
Customs House Brisbane - My team at Customs House really did an amazing job! It was really interesting to experience our service as a client. Sharon our Event Coordinator covered every detail so the whole evening just ran seamlessly.
Mr T - Did you find it difficult to translate more common traditions into a ‘same-sex’ wedding?
F & B - We actually found it refreshing not having to follow those norms.
Mr T - What was the most difficult thing about planning your wedding?
Setting a budget! We never really did!
Mr T - Where did you spend your honeymoon?
B & F - We decided to spend a week in the Maldives at the Fairmont Sirru Fen Fushi. It was just absolutely perfect as we flew out two days after our wedding for a week of pampering and relaxation.
Mr T - Any advice for other couples planning their day and finding it difficult to navigate the journey?
F - We had many guests that flew in from interstate and overseas so we hosted guests at a Welcome Party the night before. This was the perfect opportunity for us to spend more time with our guests and for them to reconnect with our other friends and family.
Photographer Studio Impressions
Venue Customs House Brisbane
Suits Massimo Dutti
Stylist Celebrating in Style
Band Hamilton Band
Cars Maserati from the Emporium Hotel
Stationery Invitation Station
Calligraphy Pixiedust Calligraphy
Celebrant Remember that Moment
Catering Customs House Brisbane
Ceremony Backdrop and Dance Floor Staging Creations